Final OT

Series (Game 2 of 4)

Chicago leads 2-1

Game 1: Sunday, October 27th
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Blackhawks3
Game 2: Saturday, December 28th
Blackhawks3Final
OT
Sharks3
Game 3: Friday, February 14th
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Blackhawks2
Game 4: Monday, March 17th
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OT
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Blackhawks 3

(17-13-0, 40 pts)

Sharks 3

(14-15-3, 35 pts)

10:30 PM ET, December 28, 2002

SAP Center, San Jose, California

1 2 3 OT T
CHI 2 1 0 03
SJ 2 0 1 03

T. Arnason (Blackhawks - C): Goals: 3, Assists: 0

J. Cheechoo (Sharks - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

N. Sundstrom (Sharks - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Sundstrom scores first goal in 54 games for Sharks

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- Tyler Arnason's third goal of the night came far too early. The third goal of Jonathan Cheechoo's career was just in time.

 Tyler Arnason
Arnason

Arnason got his first hat trick for Chicago, but fellow rookie Cheechoo scored with 9:50 left as the San Jose Sharks tied the Blackhawks 3-3 Saturday night.

After scoring twice in the first period, Arnason wrapped up his first three-goal game in the NHL with an aggressive move to the net for a power-play goal just 3 ½ minutes into the second.

"It felt great, but I hoped it wasn't too early in the game," Arnason said. "I knew this was an up-and-down game, so I was hoping it would be enough to stand up. It wasn't, but I'm still happy."

The Blackhawks couldn't score again, and Cheechoo tied it midway through the third period when he turned the corner on Phil Housley and fired a shot past Jocelyn Thibault. Cheechoo's rookie season hasn't been nearly as good as Arnason's campaign, but he felt just as good about his contribution from the fourth line.

"Any time you can help the team from my position, it's really good," Cheechoo said. "Me and Mark Smith had very good games, and also Niklas Sundstrom broke out of a scoring slump, so everybody seems to be coming around. Everybody is chipping in here and there."

Sundstrom scored his first goal in 54 games for the Sharks, who are unbeaten in four straight home games early in an eight-game homestand. Mike Ricci also scored, and Mark Smith had two assists as San Jose rallied from two one-goal deficits.

"We had an outstanding third period and missed some golden opportunities, but we still got a point," Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. "I'm not displeased."

Patrick Marleau missed an open net for San Jose with 90 seconds left in overtime, leading to the Sharks' fourth tie of the season.

Arnason's linemates, Eric Daze and Steve Sullivan, had two assists apiece as Chicago stretched its unbeaten streak to five games in the opener of a four-game trip. The veteran wingers are just as impressed as everyone else by their rookie center.

"(Daze) told him after the first period, 'These nights don't happen very often. Take advantage of it,'" Sullivan said. "Sure enough, he kept driving to the net and got that third one. He isn't as fast as (Daze) and I, but if he gets in positions where we're going to get him the puck, he's going to get a lot of goals."

Though he played 21 games with Chicago last season, the 23-year-old Arnason is considered a rookie -- and a frontrunner in the Calder Trophy race one year after winning the AHL's rookie of the year award. He had gone seven straight games without a goal before scorching the Sharks.

Evgeni Nabokov made 32 saves in another strong outing for San Jose while playing for the 20th time in 21 games. The Sharks are 6-3-2-1 since Darryl Sutter was fired on Dec. 1, but they haven't made up much ground in the Western Conference race.

Sundstrom redirected Scott Hannan's pass midway through the first period for his first goal since last Feb. 8 _ also in a home game against Chicago. Sundstrom snapped an 11-game scoreless streak.

Ricci ended a seven-game scoreless streak and put the Sharks up 2-1 late in the wide-open first period when he chopped at a long rebound off Thibault's blocker and improbably buried it in the far right corner of the net.

"All skill," Ricci said with a grin. "Everyone has to chip in. We can't rely on the same people to save us every night. We're too far down in the standings to take a night off."

Game notes
Thibault made 24 saves. ... Mark Bell pounded San Jose captain Owen Nolan in a fight late in the second period. ... Chicago D Jon Klemm, whose left index finger was broken by a puck last week, didn't make the trip. The Blackhawks hope he'll return next weekend, when they play at Nashville on Saturday and at home against Detroit on Sunday, Jan. 5. ... Cheechoo and Smith both had their first career multipoint games. ... Sutter wasn't unemployed for long. He was hired Saturday by Calgary, and several Sharks wished him well after the game.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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